§ Mr. Challen
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to reduce the waste arising from the over-prescribing of medicines. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
The Department is concerned about wastage from over-prescribing of medicines and has introduced a number of initiatives to address this. These include; the medicines management collaborative schemes, that demonstrate innovation and good practice in medicines management and the joint medicines partnership task force, that encourages the involvement of patients in their treatment decisions and repeat dispensing which enables the pharmacist to check whether patients still need the medicines prescribed for them. Improved prescribing and medicines management is also being encouraged through the quality and outcomes framework, within the new general practitioner contracts. In hospitals, too, action has been taken to reduce waste, including through the re-use of patients' own medicines and dispensing for discharge.
For the future, the new community pharmacy contractual framework is expected to incorporate services, such as medicines use review, which will support quality prescribing and reduce waste.